SB1070 Has Cost Arizona $ 1 million In Legal Defense, Has Yielded Exactly Zero Arrests

Tucson - Since being enacted, SB1070 has cost Arizona over a million dollars in legal bills, but has yielded exactly zero arrests. If the goal of SB1070 was to secure Arizona from drug dealers, and deal with crime in general, it has been a spectacular failure. 

Alan Beard Rau of the Arizona Republic has the full story here:

The nation's toughest immigration law has been in effect for three months. But after the federal courts prevented key portions from going into effect, it has failed to live up to both opponents' worst fears and supporters' greatest hopes.

Immigrant-rights groups and major Arizona law-enforcement agencies say they've heard of no arrests made or citations issued using the statutes created under Senate Bill 1070, and no Arizona resident has taken advantage of the portion of the law that allows them to sue an official or agency that is not enforcing federal immigration law to the fullest extent.

Ironically though the law itself does not have quite the bite it originally did, several statutes added have created new and more creative ways of "enforcing immigration laws."

The statutes allowed to go into effect do several things:

  • Require government officials and agencies to enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent permitted by federal law and allow Arizona residents to sue if the official or agency adopts a policy that violates this requirement.
  • Allow law enforcement to pull anybody over for any traffic violation if the driver is suspected of engaging in the "smuggling" of human beings for profit or commercial purposes. This could include stopping a driver for a secondary offense such as not wearing a seat belt, which in every other circumstance can be cited only if the driver is stopped for a separate primary violation such as speeding.
  • Make it a crime to pick up or be picked up as a day laborer if the vehicle is stopped on a road and impeding traffic.
  • Make it a crime to encourage an illegal immigrant to come to Arizona or transport, conceal, harbor or shield an immigrant if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact the immigrant is in the country illegally. This offense has to be during the commission of another criminal offense.

State Senator Russell Pearce, seems impervious to reality, and says that the law has in fact been a huge success in driving undocumented immigrants away from Arizona:

On Thursday, he said that despite there having been no arrests under the law, it has succeeded at driving illegal immigrants out of Arizona and assisting law enforcement.

"It is having the impact needed," he said. "I have talked to law enforcement, and they intend to use these laws."

So, Senator Pearce says, that law enforcement, "intends to use the law," the real question is, when?

The law has been enacted for nearly 3 months, there are all these neat new statutes that allow police to "enforce the law."

And there has not been a single arrest. Could it be that local law enforcement officers are not comfortable profiling people. Perhaps they are out solving real crimes...

In summation... There have been zero arrests, it is costing the state millions of dollars in legal bills and Senator Pearce says this is a.... success?

I would hate to see what a failure would have looked like.